Universal screening and early intervention for maternal mental health and attachment difficulties

Milford, Rebecca and Oates, John (2009). Universal screening and early intervention for maternal mental health and attachment difficulties. Community Practitioner, 82(8) pp. 30–33.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cp/cp/2009/0...

Abstract

A pilot study developed a protocol for use by health visitors in the first six to eight postnatal weeks, and repeated at nine months, to screen for the risks of maternal mental health problems and subsequent attachment difficulties. Based on this pilot, a care pathway scheme was developed to offer targeted service delivery to women and infants needing enhanced support.

This paper describes the universal screening programme and care pathway scheme that was developed, and the support offered to deliver care. Central to the pathway is the identification of three levels of concern - low, moderate and high. The assignment of clients to moderate and high concern levels initiates the delivery of additional packages of multi-agency care. The initiative also addresses the need to improve health visitor competence and confidence in detecting and responding effectively to difficulties in mother-infant relationships.

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